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Videogame movie reviews: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)


The first film had a very mixed reception, but seemed to draw enough action, horror and game fans to being in enough money and demand to start work on the sequel straight away. Paul Anderson, however, retired to the writer's chair and left direction to Alexander Witt, a prominent director of photography in the film industry. That should already give you an idea on what this film is going to focus on.

Starting right from where the last film left off, Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up within an Umbrella lab, discovers that the T-Virus had bonded with her and given her special powers, and stumbles outside into a ruined Raccoon City. She then takes a shotgun and cop car and moseys forth to kick some ass.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the city has been cordoned off by Umbrella and soon outright decides to seal its inhabitants inside and the hordes of zombies with them. However, soon enough, one of the executives cuts a deal with Alice, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), some STARS members and external mercenaries in which he promises them safe passage out of the city in exchange for finding his daughter.

In essence, Apocalypse is a weird retcon of Resi 3, for the first half of the film anyway. It involves pretty much all of the characters within that game, including the mercenaries and even Nemesis. Yes, one of the plot points at the end of the last film was that one of Alice's friends was turned into what we know as Nemesis. At this point, most of us were thinking, "could've been cool. Nice way to introduce dubious moral choices, "do I want to kill what was once my friend" and all that". Yeah...more on that soon.

Most of the actual design is faithful and fine, with about as much gore as was in the last film. The zombies still look good, as do the lickers, and despite taking away his eyes, Nemesis is even pulled off pretty well.

There's little actually spectacular about the film, including the acting, which is as dull as ever, and the pacing's a bit wonky, but it's not terrible or WTF-y much. That is, except for one point in the first half and the entirety of the second.

You could pinpoint the precise moment at which you lose all hope in this series, and that's when Alice burst through a church window with dual shotguns on a motorbike. It's not even that cool in a stupidly hilarious kind of way. It's just insulting. But it gets worse.

I personally threw up my hands in disgust when Alice and Nemesis are challenged to a one-on-one fistfight. Why? This is completely antithetical to the standards of the game or the standards of...well, fucking anything. Nemesis only ever had orders to eliminate all members of STARS; he wouldn't up and do an organised karate match with anyone.

And then, he "remembers" which side he works for and start blowing up the bad guys before getting killed himself, which is meant to be emotional, but the taste of bullshit still in my mouth just eliminated any chance of that.

So our band of heroes, plus the daughter, get away in a helicopter which unfortunately inspires a scene from Modern Warfare 1, and Alice is subsequently captured from the wreckage, waking up weeks later on the set of Alien: Resurrection. It's clear that she's been experimented on once more, as she's lost her memory.

But haha, that was a ruse and she fights her way out of the building to be picked up by the remaining sidekicks. It's then implied that Alice is either a robot or under some form of technological mind control and the film ends on a cliffhanger that will awkwardly transition into nothing in the next film.

Got all that? I don't think my jaw could have been open any wider than in that sequence of events. No tie-in has been this disgraceful. I think even Uwe Boll would have been appaled at the amount of shoehorned mystique in the latter half of the film. It's tolerable up to that point, but utterly garbage past that?

None of those are even the true low points of this franchise. Buckle up, kids. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

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About Lowlander2one of us since 4:06 AM on 05.10.2011

I am an Australian journalism student, currently in his second year. There isn't much out of the ordinary about my upbringing. I'm just a guy wwho has been playing games for quite a while and enjoying them for the most part. My favourite genre is probably the rhythm game genre. Used to be RPGs, but I haven't really connected with any for a while.

I wouldn't consider myself a very theological or philosophical gamer, and I do tire of some of the devates that occure around games. STFUAJPG and all that. That doesn't mean I have nothing to say, just that I'm not the guy you come to for any sort of real opinion on serious gaming issues. My forte is the more spartan, critical stuff, like reviews and lists and what have you. Moost of my blogs have been reviews on game movies at this point, as a matter of fact.
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